Golf Highland News
Ken Made Honorary Member of Muir of Ord Golf Club
Ken Mackay has been made an Honorary Member of Muir of Ord Golf Club in his 95th year.
The unanimous decision was made at the club’s recent AGM. Ken, of Old Evanton, Road, Dingwall, has been a member for more than 50 years and has served as both Captain and President.
His wife, Dorothy, is also a club member and both were regular players until fairly recently when failing eyesight prevented her from participation.
Reay Back To Its Best As Popularity Grows
As the popularity of Reay Golf Club continues to grow, more local and visiting players are recognising the remarkable transformation the course has undergone in the past year.
In 2018, the course celebrated its 125th anniversary but it also suffered an exceptionally dry summer which resulted in significant damage to the putting surfaces.
Reay is a venue golfing aficionado have on their bucket list, being the most northerly 18-hole links course on the British mainland. It also attracts visitors from across the UK and abroad as a member club of the James Braid Highland Golf Trail and has enjoyed a further, more recent, surge of interest as a result of its location on the hugely popular North Coast 500 tourist route.
Following the damage, and to maintain its reputation and burgeoning popularity, the club embarked on an ambitious programme to recover and improve the greens. A plan was developed with the assistance of professional advice from greens staff based at other links courses throughout the north.
This expert help, coupled with the hard work of the local greenkeeper, James Macadie, ably assisted by members of the club committee and a team of eager volunteers, resulted in the greens being brought back to their best.
The work involved coring, re-seeding and top-dressing of the putting surfaces, along with improvements to the irrigation system associated with the greens. This additional investment should lessen the effects of any future periods of drought, allowing the course to remain playable during all twelve months of the year.
Not content with that, the club plans future work to enhance even further the course for visitors and members alike.
Club Captain Evan Sutherland said: “We are grateful to the membership for their tolerance in sacrificing their golf for most of the season to allow us to pursue a vigorous rescue package.
“I am very proud of the team spirit shown within our club and for the assistance of our greenkeeper in carrying out the massive programme of work required. The response has been truly amazing.”
The new-look greens have drawn some favourable comments from visitors. Toby Ward of the Bighouse Partnership in Thurso said: “The work by the team at Reay has borne excellent results. It is a unique links experience and the work undertaken will only improve its reputation.”
international course designer Donald was also moved to write: “It is a links that is as natural as I have ever seen, in another location it would enjoy worldwide acclaim.”
And Willis Copeland, author of the Independent Golfer guide, said: “It does take an effort to travel north, but Reay certainly repays that effort with a classic links experience. It’s hard to find better.”
Reay Golf Club is also planning for the future in other ways. A cornerstone of its philosophy is the development of the sport through its junior golf programmes and introductory classes for adults looking to take up the game for the first time.
The club offers instruction all year round, delivered by fully trained golf coaches, and it has a 3-hole junior course where youngsters can hone their skills in a welcoming environment.
Further information about the club, including details of flexible membership options, can be found on the Reay Golf club website and Facebook pages.
High 9s Tours
Join the High 9s Golf Tour for the 2018 season as part of Golf Highland. We have a total of NINE, 9-hole scenic golf courses to play throughout the Highlands of Scotland. These include Durness, Ullapool, Lybster, Bonar Bridge & Ardgay, Portmahomack, Gairloch, Isle of Skye, Aigas and Abernethy.
Become part of a unique golfing family and join our 9-hole club tour around the Highlands of Scotland. You can also enter our tour challenge playing 9 holes on three different courses. To enter, just make contact with the club whilst you are there or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The official poster which includes all of the relevant information in addition to the launch of the High 9s Golf Tour at Bonar Bridge & Ardgay Golf Club by clicking onto the link below:
The top image shows the official launch of the High 9s Tour at Bonar Bridge & Ardgay Golf Club.
Donnie Swanson and his grandson, Baxter Macintosh (11), both members at Aigas Golf Club, recently undertook Golf Highland’s High 9s Tour, visiting nine 9-hole golf courses in the Highlands. Here is how they got on:
We signed up to the tour around the middle of June at Aigas Golf Club.
Myself, my son-in-law, Michael Macintosh, and my grandson, Baxter, had finished a round and were talking to Jessie, Mine Host, in the clubhouse. She mentioned this new event aimed at encouraging golfers of all abilities to visit other 9-hole courses around the Highlands.
Baxter, having only taken up golf last year, showed more than a degree of interest, not only in the golf - he’s a competitor - but the geography as well. With the school holidays imminent, I, being retired, decided we should give it a go. Michael works away a lot, so could not commit, but Baxter and I signed up. And so, the journey began.
Two very contrasting courses, Bonar with its woodland fairways and the Port being wide open and dry. Both courses had good greens considering the scorching weather.
10thJuly. We made the long trek to Sconser, Isle of Skye Golf Club. Beautiful setting, nestled between mountain and sea. Peaceful, even the Raasay ferry runs in stealth mode.
Scoring did not match our previous outing. The course was too close to the sea for my hooks and slices. But we still had a wonderful time and I’m sure we will return.
Lybster is a short course with heather separating the fairways (I don’t enjoy playing out of heather), and ditches traversing them. All this led to a mediocre score for both of us. The clubhouse is unmanned but you are welcome to have a cup of tea or coffee and biscuit, paying via an honesty box. Having travelled far, we were looking for a little more sustenance and found a lovely café down by the harbour. Worth a visit.
We left Lybster and headed for Thurso and west to Durness. We overnighted there. Some lovely German tourists decided to reverse into the motorhome while I was booking in. No real damage done that I can tell. In the morning we played Durness. Again, unmanned with refreshments available using the honesty box system. Scoring not great but we did like the course. The rough looked demanding but was quite forgiving. The views on some holes were gorgeous with a backdrop of white sandy beaches. We returned home and by the time we got there we’d almost completed the NC500.
23rdJuly.Ullapool and Gairloch. Played Ullapool in the morning. Not our best, but, for once, I played better than Baxter. He got his revenge at Gairloch in the afternoon. Of course he arrives relaxed while I am stressed having to do all the driving. Cannot fault the scenery on both courses. As for the golf, that’s another story.
27thJuly. Abernethy, our final destination. Beautiful day, beautiful setting and almost beautiful golf, at least until the 7thwhen the wheels came off my game and I had to concede to Baxter once again, both on the day and on the Tour.
Overall, we would highly recommend the Tour. Contrasting courses in magical settings and meeting friendly people. We had a great time and look forward to trying again next year, when hopefully we will remember where we are going.
We would love to see a grandparent/grandchild competition. I mentioned it to Baxter who told me I would have to buck up as I am the weakest link!